Renting with a misdemeanor...*help*

7 Replies

First off thank you for taking a second to read this post, any experience and knowledge provided is very helpful.

I'll start off, the beginning of this year I made the stupid choice of drinking and driving, I was blackout drunk, phone was dead and instead of finding another way home I somehow got into my vehicle, long story short I got a DUI but am in the process of having it removed through a pretrial diversion program.

I am not a heavy drinker, after that episode I definitely don't enjoy drinking anymore and very rarely drink, it was a stupid mistake and I never cause trouble... with that being said I now realize certain aspects of my life have become more difficult for simple things.

I've been told by property managers that it may be an issue to apply for a background check through them, and then through HOA.

I am a 23 year old male with 2 jobs, I'm always at work, make 50k+ a year, don't have the best credit score but no actual negative remarks, just a high utility rate I've felt no rush to pay off.

Another thing is I dislike living in an apartment, I've only had bad experiences but not with a house or apartment.

I've only had my name on 1 lease with no issue.

Now the questions, with all these factors weighing in are...

Are most property manager and HOA very strict with a DUI even if it doesn't say I've been charged? (But it still shows)

Would it just be better at this point to hire a rental realtor or would even they be hesitant because of the difficulty?

If an apartment is my last choice so be it, time to find some thick plywood walls Lol!

It's a lot to read so if you read it and could offer your own advice I very much do appreciate it, have a wonderful day y'all. 

Misdemeanors aren't usually a disqualification for renting.  Felonies, yes.  And multiple misdemeanors can be, too.  And some landlords may be strict and refuse you.  But you should be able to find a place.

I'd probably look for a private landlord who looks at the entire picture rather than strict set criteria.  And continue applying with property management companies, most they can do is deny you.

I'd suggest writing up a simple one page cover letter about your story and what you've learned to hand in with the applications.  You don't need to verbally tell your story, do it in writing, make a case why you are still a good tenant.  And you can point out that it is not technically a conviction; that is a consideration for fair housing laws.

In my screening process, you do not have two or more criminal incidents, you are not a level 1 sex offender, and you are declaring rather than trying to hide the issue, so no lost points there.  It also is not a crime that would increase my risk as a landlord, other than you possibly getting stuck in jail and not being able to work/pay rent; it is not damage to property or violence to another person.  You would lose some points in my screening process for the incident being less than a year old, but if you are otherwise a strong applicant I would still rent to you.  And if you are having trouble finding housing that is a positive for me because you may stay in my property longer.

Other considerations: prefer non-smoker, how long you have lived in the area (deeper roots/ties to an area are a positive), income compared to rent, how long you have held current job, how stable your overall job history is (changing jobs yearly is not a great trend), how long you have lived at previous addresses (frequent moving/turnover costs landlords money), what Facebook profile says about you (pets, drama, responsible, crazy), what prior landlords say about you, etc.

It's a shame that some lessons in life are so painful, but hopefully it ultimately leads to you being stronger and better for it.

I would sit tight where you are if you can until you can have this "removed". I would also ask your program contact (if you have one) what exactly the "removal" means.  If any one ask do you have to disclose? You don;t want to not mention it and then have someone run a check and it comes up if it is even going to come up "sealed"  then they may say you failed to disclose and not rent.

Over all I do not think this should be a big deal for renting. If you are working with a broker to find a place, tell them about it and ask them. They should have an idea about what landlord would find it OK or not.

I would be more concerned about how it would look if you applied for a job.

Misdemeanors are not usually something that will disqualify you as long as your credit and rental history are in good shape.

Only having your name on one lease unless you were living with your parents is a little concerning. Because of your age it would not necessarily disqualify you depending on how you explain it.

You can’t change the arrest but you do have the power to work on your debts. Having less debt would make you more appealing to a potential landlord.

@Ricky Gutierrez

You should be able to find a PM or landlord willing to rent to you with a pending DUI and no other record. I bet the fact that you have credit issues (or a combination of that and the DUI) is the real issue. The short rental history may also be a negative.

I practice criminal defense in Florida in my day job so I can tell you that if you are so inclined, you may be able expunge your record after you complete the diversionary program. That will prevent the charge from showing up in all but the most intensive background checks. It takes a few months but may give you peace of mind for future rentals.   

Originally posted by @Chris Carson :

@Ricky Gutierrez

You should be able to find a PM or landlord willing to rent to you with a pending DUI and no other record. I bet the fact that you have credit issues (or a combination of that and the DUI) is the real issue. The short rental history may also be a negative.

I practice criminal defense in Florida in my day job so I can tell you that if you are so inclined, you may be able expunge your record after you complete the diversionary program. That will prevent the charge from showing up in all but the most intensive background checks. It takes a few months but may give you peace of mind for future rentals.   

 Thank you Chris, I have spoken to my lawyer about expunging the dropped charge off my record, but he told me to focus on making sure I complete the diversion program first, but I am glad to know that it's possible.

I will pay off my debt first before moving out. As for only 1 history of a lease, I lived in Mexico temporarily (age 14-20) came to live with my mom while I got a good job and was on my feet then moved out, financially I've been either stable or my income has grown, I can prove that to a PM or landlord, but I think everybody has suggested fixing my credit score first.

Thank you to everybody for their posts, I've read and taken every one of them seriously, so time to fix the simple things first.

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